The Heart Behind ‘Thoughts & Prayers’

United States

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Mass shootings. Hurricanes. Floods. Fires. Earthquakes.

People losing their homes, their belongings, their memories.

But most of all, people losing their people.

Their parents, kids, siblings, friends.

The escalation of mass violence, mass shootings, in this country has been chipping away at me. I find myself simultaneously becoming more numb and more broken each time it happens. Yesterday, with the most recent of these tragedies happening in Texas, my heart has only felt broken – the numbness long gone.

Why?

That’s the question the instant suffering enters our lives. Why did that person murder those people? Why did those people have to die? Why wasn’t this prevented?

Why?

I ask, too. Those of you who don’t know me – I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ and a God who loves us and is intimately involved with all of us on this globe. And believe me, friend, I ask why.

Why would God allow this?

There never seems to be an answer. Sure, we could discuss theology and what scripture says to get us going in a certain direction, but at the end of it all, we will never have or know all the answers to “why?”

Because we are human. And God is God.

I don’t say that to brush-off the question. It’s a big question. A profoundly deep and painful question – especially when there is no answer in sight – no relief.

I say that because while I don’t have the answers to why, I intimately know the One who does. Who holds it all in His hands.

I have faith. Faith that He knows me, He hears me, He listens to me when I call. And that when I call, when I ask for help – He acts.

Many times I don’t see His actions. Sometimes I see His actions and think “that’s not exactly what I had in mind.” Sometimes, He answers and gives exactly what’s requested.

But every single time, whatever happens, I know that God holds it all in His hands, and I trust Him.

I trust Him more than anything.

He has been with me through all of my ups-and-downs in life. He’s been my friend when I’ve felt alone and has lead me through every struggle and every highlight.

He’s not this far-away entity. My relationship with Him is not a box I check off every Sunday. It’s a very real, living, breathing relationship.

I would love for everyone, for you, to have that too.

But if you don’t – that’s okay. My reason for writing this was not to convert you. It was not to impress you. It’s my attempt to open up my heart to you, to show you where my words come from when I say:

I’m praying for you.

My prayers are with you.

To a person of genuine faith, praying for someone is absolutely the most crucial, most valuable thing they can do for you.

It’s not a cop-out. It’s not a brush-off.

It’s love. It’s faith that in this chaotic world, God has ultimate control and when we pray, He acts.

Is that all we can do? Of course not. We should be doing what we can to help when people are hurting – from donating money, time, travel, to activism and community involvement. I’m certainly not here to say we don’t need to put our hands to work in this world.

My hope is that this helps, even in the smallest way, to show you that prayer is not a simple recitation.

It’s everything.

And even if you don’t believe in my God, my faith, my prayers – please see the heart and love and compassion and faith in those that do.

Because our prayers are with you.

Our God is with you.

 

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Kintsukuroi

Spinning, spinning, dizzy, dizzy.
Slow down a bit and catch my breath.
Continue on, round and round, keep my balance, continue on.

Weary, weary, doing good?
Which way is forward? I no longer know.

Faster, faster, catch up now.
I falter,
I trip,
I fall.
Crashing down all at once.
The fear before the landing, the pain after the shock.

Shame, shame – they’re all looking, they all see.
The pieces of me,
now revealed,
shattered upon the ground.
I gather all I can, hold them close, then bow my head way down.

Never to look the same again, never to feel whole. Purpose lost, confusion gained.
Where do I go now?

Tears.
Silence.
Pause.

The cracks in me from my brokenness somehow become an invitation for You to fill me.
To fill me more, to fill me better.
The depths of my new-found weakness and pain become home to the depths of Your love.

Never to look the same again, never to be alone. The cracks in me become beauty, become story.

The cracks in me from my brokenness somehow become an invitation for You to fill me with more of You.

Had I known this from the start, I would have gladly crashed down long ago instead of running in figure eights and circles.

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Blame it on the A-a-a-a-a-alcohol

I am in the reintroduction stage of my Whole30! I’m doing the fast reintroduction, which means that every third day, I try a new food group – leaving two full whole30 days in between. This allows you to see how the new food group affects you, and also gives your body time to get rid of it before starting the next food group.

On Day 1, I reintroduced alcohol. I’m not a big drinker, but I do like to drink at special occasions or get-togethers. There have been times in the past when my face would get super hot and red – almost like an allergic reaction. Over the last nine months or so, however, I haven’t experienced this again (yay!). But I wasn’t sure what to expect since my body is so clear of processed junk – would my body react more or less to the alcohol?

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I first decided to try wine. I don’t like wine, but I thought maybe I would like it more now that I’m not consuming so much sugar.

Nope. Still gross. I forced myself to take four or five sips, before dumping the glass. Plus, it made my stomach feel weird – acidic I guess?

So, I gave it a little time to process. I wanted to try something else, just to make sure I had enough alcohol to really feel any possible side effects * wink wink *

I discovered whiskey over the holidays this past season, and I liked it. Also it was Wednesday night, Supernatural was on, and I was like, you know what, I’m gonna do a shot a whiskey for Dean Winchester. Don’t judge.

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I had a mini bottle of whiskey from a couple years ago, so I took a shot. The whiskey itself was actually gross – probably not a very good brand or whatever – but man… I felt good! And I didn’t have any sort of bad reaction to it.

The next day I was okay. I felt slightly crummy all day, but nothing too bad – and nothing I wouldn’t expect after a night of drinking (I’m a light-weight, folks!).

So – yes! I can drink alcohol. Probably still won’t be drinking that often, but it’s nice to know I can when the occasion calls for it.

Today, I added legumes to my diet. I’ll blog about that in a few days when I see how they made me feel!

Nighty Night!

“I Am Whole30” or “And now: Wine”

I’m writing this blog in two parts: Day 30 and Day 31. It’s a little long, but I hope you enjoy!

———

Today, it’s Day 30! Woohoo! I felt very happy and excited all day that I had actually made it through 30 days, and so easily at that. Later in the afternoon, however, a weird mood started to set in.

I felt nervous. Nervous that when I stepped on the scale in the morning, it wouldn’t have changed as much as I wanted it to change. Nervous that I would all of the sudden go back to all my old habits without the rules dictating what I could and couldn’t eat.

Those nerves slowly transitioned to depression. What the heck? As I’m writing this, I’m pretty irritated that I feel this way. I mean, this has been amazing and no matter what the scale says in the morning, so many changes have taken place in me over the past month, that I should be so proud of myself and excited for the future!

I wish the scale didn’t matter as much in my mind. I’m still planning to weigh myself in the morning, but after that’s done I’m throwing the scale back into the closet for at least another two weeks, if not another month. I cannot, and will not, allow a number on a scale to derail my progress anymore.

I took after pics of myself tonight and that kinda bummed me out too. I guess I was expecting to see a huge difference in them, but I just don’t see it. BUT I’m not a photographer. I took pics of myself with my camera’s self-timer in bad lighting. So I closed the pics and probably won’t look at them again – what do they know anyway?

There is a list in the Whole30 book that they tell you to go over before weighing yourself. A list of all the positive changes that may have happened for you over the last 30 days. They have you do this so that you keep those things in mind when you step on the scale – it’s not just about the number!

Since I’m not a great morning person, I’m going over these things tonight.

Here are MY positive changes:

PHYSICAL (OUTSIDE)

-Flatter stomach

-Clothes fit better

-Less bloating

-Feeling more confident in appearance (most days 😉 )

PHYSICAL (INSIDE)

-Fewer PMS symptoms

-Less diarrhea (just being real here, folks!)

-Fewer seasonal allergies

MOOD/EMOTION/PSYCHOLOGY

-Happier

-More outgoing

-More patient

-More optimistic

-Less anxious

-Less stressed

-Fewer mood swings

-Fewer sugar cravings (none)

-Fewer carb cravings (none)

-Improved self-confidence

-Less reliance on the scale!!!

-Feeling in control of food

BRAIN FUNCTION

-Improved performance at job

-Faster reaction times

-Clearer thinking

-Higher productivity

SLEEP

-Sleep more soundly

ENERGY

-Energy levels are higher

-Energy levels are more even!!!

-More energy in the morning (still not a morning person though.. let’s be clear..)

-More energy to exercise (lunchtime walks! Yay!)

-No longer need to eat every two hours

-No longer get cranky if I don’t eat

SPORTS/EXERCISE/PLAY

-Started moving or exercises (lunctime walks! Yay again!)

FOOD & BEHAVIORS

-Healthier relationship with food

-Eat to satiety

-Listening to my body

-No longer afraid of dietary fat

-LEARNED HOW TO COOK

-Don’t use food for comfort, reward, punishment, or stress management

-No longer a slave to sugar or carb cravings

-More variety, color, vitamins, and minerals in my diet

-No more food guilt or shame

-No more binging

LIFESTYLE & SOCIAL

-New cooking skills

-New recipes

-Meal prep is organized & efficient

-I am Whole30 🙂

Dang. I’m feeling better already! So glad I did that! See you in the morning, scale!

——–

AND NOW, DAY 31

I laid in bed for a bit this morning, hesitant to get up. I eventually did though, and went to the bathroom where the scale waited. I took a deep breath and stood on the scale for a moment, waiting for it to register – hoping, praying to be amazed.

8.8 lbs.

I only lost 8.8 lbs. Not even close to what I hoped or thought I would have lost.

I was hoping to post a different gif here, one of crazy excitement. Sigh. I had a moment this morning. I cried. I was upset. I kept wondering what I did wrong. What should I have done better? Should I have eaten less? More greens? Was I eating something against the rules without knowing? And people are going to be asking. They all know I’m weighing in today, and they’ll be so disappointed. I feel like a failure.

I pulled myself together cause a girl’s gotta go to work to pay the bills. I’ve been processing and thinking all day, and I’m glad to report that I’m in much higher spirits now. I kept reminding myself of all the good that’s happened (see list above). And I also realized that…

I didn’t do anything wrong.

I friggin lost 8.8 lbs by EATING FOOD. That’s 2.2 lbs a week.

Also, I didn’t measure myself when I started this (mistake), but I did measure myself back in January and this morning, and since January, I’ve not only lost about 16 lbs, but I’ve lost 6.5 inches overall – most of those inches probably in the last month.

People say I do look like I’ve lost weight. So you know what? Screw it, I’m posting the super-crazy-excited gif:

Guys. I’m so proud of myself. I’m rocking this lifestyle change like nobody’s business.

Guess what I did?

I kicked it in the ass.

And now: wine. Cheers!

28 Days Later…

I’m sure I’ll have a really fun blog for you on Day 31! But as an update:

I feel happy and free.

Clothes are fitting better.

I finally see the change in my face (since yesterday) – others have noted this sooner, but it’s taken awhile for me to notice – we’re our own worst critics, hey?

hammockgoodLove y’all!

The New Normal

First things first – This is my oldest niece and me a year or two ago. It’s her birthday today (20! Ahhh).

Happy Birthday, T!

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Okay, back to business.

Blogging about my Whole30 is getting harder. I think because the Whole30 has really become my normal life – and what is exciting about blogging about normal life??

I’m finishing Day 22. A Week from tomorrow will be my “last day” of the Whole30. But not really, cause most of the following 10 days, I’ll still be eating the same. So it’s kinda like the Whole40-ish. I’m still feeling great. Cooking is pretty normal to me now, which is nice. I think I’m getting quicker!

This weekend I had the wonderful experience of putting on a T-Shirt and it actually fit right. T-shirts and I – we’ve never gotten along very well. They usually fall or suck against any rolls I have, making them unwearable to me. This shirt wasn’t too bad, but I would always where a jacket or a button-up shirt over it because I was self-conscious in it.

But Saturday. Oh, Saturday. I put the shirt on and it fit and it didn’t show any thing. I wore it and it alone – no jacket or anything. And I wasn’t constantly pulling it down to make sure it was smooth. It was a wonderful feeling. Very exciting.

I needed that because, while I can kinda tell I’ve lost weight by how I look in the mirror or even when I touch my arms or what not, it’s nothing concrete. It’s not a number on a scale or a measurement, or before and after pics side by side. It’s mostly, “I think I’ve lost weight, but what if it’s in my head?” So having a shirt finally fit me correctly was definitely a mental boost that I needed.

I ate out for the first time on Sunday! I was nervous, but it actually was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I got a salad with grilled chicken, told the waitress what I couldn’t have on my chicken, and enjoyed it with balsamic vinegar. It was so nice! I felt like a normal person having lunch with friends.

Ahh, the new normal is feeling really great, guys.

Love ya’ll!

P(lease) M(ore) S(nacks)…

Ah, PMS. A wonderful time in every woman’s life.

Now, in the past I always knew I craved junk food and wanted to eat more, but I figured a lot of it was just mental. After experiencing PMS while on the Whole30, I now know the truth.

It is NOT JUST MENTAL. I was so freaking hungry! And Chocolate. Oh Chocolate – I wanted some so bad! I haven’t really craved anything this entire time – so don’t tell me it was all in my head!

But don’t you worry, friends, I’m happy to report I am still slip-free! I did eat a few more Larabars than normal, but hey – that’s not bad, if I do say so myself. And I do…say so…myself.

In the Whole30 book it says that a lot of people experience very vivid dreams where they are eating “forbidden” foods while doing this diet. I chuckled at that and thought, aw that’s cute. But that definitely won’t happen to me.

Three times. It’s happened THREE times.

During week two, I had a dream I was knockin’ back SO MANY frappuccinos. So delicious. I blame the aforementioned Starbucks ads on social media. Jerks.

This week (PMS week), I dreamed I was eating this big bowl of oily, poorly-mixed mac and cheese. It was gross, but I kept eating it. What?!

A couple nights later, I dreamed I was eating anything around, not realizing I was eating “forbidden” food until I was sipping on a bottle of Coke.

In all the dreams, when I woke up and realized it wasn’t real, I was SO RELIEVED! I didn’t actually screw up! I guess it makes sense that something I’m so focused on right now – what I’m eating – would seep into my dreams too.

Eighteen Days, guys! I can’t believe I have less than two weeks to go. I’m transitioning into planning mode now – what will I eat to reintroduce food groups back into my diet? How am I going to eat after this? What boundaries do I need to put on myself to make sure I don’t easily slide back into old habits?

I’ve never spent so much thoughtful time and energy on my health. It doesn’t feel like a burden though, more a problem to solve, a sort of game I suppose – a hobby? Whatever it is, I’m staying very interested in it, so that’s a plus!

Thanks again for reading, friends. I hope you are doing well on whatever journey you are on – remember: Love Yourself First and Always Keep Fighting – brighter days are ahead!

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Me and Jared Padalecki, March 20, 2016

Two Weeks!

Seems I shorted myself a day at some point! I’m finishing up Day 14 today!

The weekend was busy, and I probably didn’t eat as much as I should have, but I made it through without running for fast food or anything. Tonight I made myself a burger on lettuce with grilled onions and mushrooms with a side of sweet potato fries – amazing!

It’s been really challenging to still not weigh or measure myself. Sometimes when I look in the mirror I think maybe I’ve lost weight, but most times I look the same as before. It’s amazing how much your self-worth and self-esteem is dependent on a number. This is a good exercise in really knowing myself – how I’m feeling, how I look, how I think about myself.

Awesome

Getting ready to start another week – week three. Excited to see what changes take place!

Have a great week everyone!

Simplify.

I’m running out of things to blog about! I may start blogging every other day, unless something interesting happens or inspires me – just a heads up to all my loyal followers (haha…).

Like I’ve said before, I’m enjoying cooking. However, cooking every weeknight was getting a bit hard – mostly due to the amount of time it was taking. I’m sure as I cook more I’ll get faster. So yesterday, I decided to simplify things.

For dinner, I made myself a salad – I basically just put anything I already had chopped in the salad. I also cooked up some chicken. Then, a miracle happened. I tried Balsamic, and I loved it!

I have tried Balsamic so many times before and always found it to be pretty gross. This diet change has definitely affected my tastebuds! This makes me so happy because I don’t want to have to make my own salad dressing!

Also, all the other salad dressings I looked at when I went shopping had soybean oil in them. What’s with that? (for those who don’t know, you can’t have soy (legumes) on the Whole30). So, balsamic it was. Tessamae’s Balsamic is Whole30 approved, and delicious! They have other dressings and sauces as well, I found them in the refrigerated section in produce. But read the labels! Some of their dressings have soybean oil in them too!

 

Tonight I had a side salad, chicken with salsa, and half an avocado. SIMPLE. And delicious and satisfying. And I didn’t spend the majority of my night in the kitchen!

Tomorrow is Friday and then another busy weekend for me. I’ll be honest, I haven’t really planned my meals/how I’m going to get through this weekend – that will be first priority tomorrow night so I can successfully navigate it!

Have a Happy Friday!

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P.S. I promise, sometimes I’m not even looking for Supernatural-related gifs. They just find me.

So Fancy…

Not much to blog about today. I will say, that cooking seems to be getting more fun for me.

I may have even leveled up in cooking tonight:

Look how fancy I am!

And there’s KALE in that! And it’s DELICIOUS. It’s a recipe in the Whole30 cookbook if you’re wondering!

Also, I discovered when you add finely chopped kale to a hot pan, it flies into the air. And it’s hilarious.

Have a great day tomorrow! Because tomorrow…

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